Cole bill aims to ban daytime roadwork

American Legion Bridge over the Potomac River. [Photo: VDOT]

Is daytime roadwork and all of those construction zones keeping you from getting where you’re going?

Cole

Newly-elected Delegate Joshua Cole (D-28, Fredericksburg, Stafford) think so, and he’s introduced a new bill that would require the Virginia Department of Transportation to do all of their work at night.

Email from Cole’s Chief of Staff Eric Sundberg | During our preliminary research for HB283 we came across two metropolitan areas which implemented these controls in 2005. Both Los Angeles County and the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex created bans which prevented construction projects and vehicles, in the case of L.A. from 6 a.m.. – 9 .a.m and 3 p.m. -7 p.m. and in the case of Dallas-Fort Worth from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m.

The programs in those cities were successful in reducing rush hour traffic. Studies have demonstrated that the benefits of these programs are reducing costs to drivers, increasing safety for construction workers, and substantially reducing air pollution by moving drivers along faster.

Our goal with the bill is to alleviate traffic slowdowns in the [Interstate] 95 corridor, particularly in areas such as the 28th District. Allowing traffic to flow steadily throughout periods of heavy highway usage will reduce the economic costs of traffic for commuters and business as well as improve the air quality by reducing the amount of time automobiles spend idling.

VDOT did not return a request for comment on this post so we don’t know how this would affect their operations.

There is a major highway project underway in District 28 — the effort to add a new span of the Rappahannock Falls Bridge that carries I-95 traffic over the river, as well as two new lanes in the center of the highway from Truslow Road in Stafford to just south of exit 130 in Fredericksburg. This work includes adding new bridges at the interchange at milepost 133 at Falmouth.

Coles’s other trasportation-related bill, HB284, comes after the death of 17-year-old Colonial Forge High School student Helen Wang, who was killed on her birthday last May while pulling out of a driveway on a boating ramp at Abel Lake in Stafford County. Officials said there was too much overgrowth in the area, and that could have led to Wang not being able to see the oncoming car that struck and killed her.

Following her death, there was fingerpointing on the part of the county and VDOT as to who is responsible for maintaining vegetation along Stafford’s busy two-lane roads.

Email from Cole | This is a bill Sen. Richard Stuart (R-28) and I are working on with the Students from Changing Stafford’s Roads. We have support from the majority of the Stafford County delegation on this one.

It would simply allow the localities to handle roadside vegetation or give permission to private owners instead of waiting for VDOT to come and handle.
Virginia’s General Assembly convened today in Richmond.

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